I have been on a quest.
For years, I have heard it said that “Do not be afraid” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. I LOVED it! That’s so like God! He knows we need one of those for every day of the year. For several weeks, I have been pondering this 365-revelation and decided to find out for myself. (I read that fact in a book and have repeated it numerous times.) I’m a source cite-r and like to know the truth. If I am telling something, I want to make sure it’s factual!
I have lots of “Do not be afraid’s” in my phone already-and also in my heart. But I needed ALL of them, so I went to my go-to fact checker…the INTERNET! (Just kidding-not everything on the internet is gospel!) Biblegateway.com is an amazing resource that I use frequently. Whether I am checking a Scripture, version of the Bible, translating to Spanish or other language, it is an invaluable tool.
This was going to be a great adventure! I made a special file on Excel to keep a record of all the Scripture verses and prayed before I began.
First, I checked “Do not be afraid” in the New International Version-my personal favorite since 1993. There were loads from Genesis to Revelation! Number one was in Genesis 15:1: The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward.” I typed it into my spreadsheet with a smile. I was on my way!
After getting a boat-load of “Do not be afraid” verses into my Excel document, I searched “Fear not” and “Do not fear” in the NIV, then switched to the King James Version and also the New King James Version. I added them to my list.
After two days of research, I had less than half of my goal. Finally, I went to Google and typed in “365 Do Not Be Afraid Bible verses”. “Surely, somebody before me has searched this out! I can just use their references!” I thought. I found lots of information and checked numerous cites and articles. Ultimately, I found that there are not a documented 365 Bible verses stating “Do not be afraid”, “Do not fear” and/or “Fear not”. (Feel free to email me if you found them all!)
I can’t say that I was disappointed. It was a personal quest, so I would know if I was telling the truth when I said it. What I found was that no matter how many times “Do not be afraid” is mentioned in the Bible, it’s absolutely enough. To be honest, if we read our Bibles 365 days per year, we WON’T be afraid. The Scripture will fill us to the brim and we will be strong and courageous, knowing that the LORD is with us, no matter what giants, storms or problems we face. (Actually, that is my very, very favorite “Do not be afraid” verse! Joshua 1:9!)
This may shock you, but as a kid I had to be told something more than once to get it. I can still hear “How many times do I have to tell you….” Apparently, the answer was: a lot. (Sometimes even as an adult, things have to be repeated.)
That’s just how our heavenly Father is. He knew we would get scared and discouraged. He knew we would need to hear again and again not to be afraid, that He is with us and will help us. Instead of asking, “How many times do I have to tell you…?”, He just had it written down. No matter if it was 365 times or 137 (my current total), it was exactly enough.
Here’s one for the road or to put in your phone: Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That’s good stuff!